While some may be familiar with the Kururin franchise, most people are not. Their not to blame though considering the first game only made it to Europe and Japan, and the second title only made it to Australia and Japan. While it has made a few appearances in the Smash Bros series, North American gamers have been almost oblivious to this series. Kururin Squash is the third title in the series, released in 2004 this Gamecube title never made it outside of Japan’s shores. Was it a mistake on Nintendo’s part for ignoring this franchise for worldwide release or did they prevent a wasted localization?
Considering the game is in Japanese there’s not much to be said about the story from some one with no knowledge of the Japanese language. From some guessing and some research, I found that the story deals with the Kururin Family on vacation around the world. The family returned home and realized that all of the kids had gone missing during the trip! So Kururin Sets off to the different worlds in order to search for the children who have gone missing. While the story is there, its not a big part of the game so one who lacks knowledge of Japanese won’t be hindered by the language barrier. The cut scenes are fun to watch and have a very unique style to them. Even people who can not read Japanese can enjoy the fun facial expressions and character voices.
Kururin Squash basically is a maze navigating game, the catch though, is that you have 2 blades sticking out of your ship and they constantly rotate in a counter clockwise or clockwise direction. If you touch walls your ship takes damage. While the concept is simple, the mazes get more complicated as you go on which require split second timing and navigating skills. Collectible coins are on the stages which can be used in the stores and collecting them on stages can add to the difficulty. Later stages can be very challenging. Until you complete a stage you can’t move on. This means in order to go on you have to navigate the same maze over and over again until you reach the goal. While none of the stages are impossibly hard, some might find it frustrating going through the same maze over and over again.
Some levels have special ships with special powers such as flame thrower, boxing gloves, etc. These power ups generally appear on stages with enemies on them. Enemies for the most part are your secondary concern, because their quite easy to defeat. Bosses are also fairly easy but theres a couple of them that may give you a little bit of trouble. There are also purchasable ships that are just for cosmetic changes but don’t change any of the actual stats or abilities, as well as purchasable displays that change the graphics for your health and time on a course, but those are also cosmetic.
Multi-player features two modes, race and battle. Race up to four players can race through any of the time trial tracks. The player the farthest ahead at each check point gets bigger blades on their ship. Battle mode requires you to collect coins from other players by damaging them using one of the many weapon ships in the game. Mario Kart like item boxes appear on screen and you grab them and use what ever item you get such as flamethrowers, lasers, tornadoes, etc. Kururin squash also supports GBA connectivity support with a mini-game that basically has you matching a imagine on the screen with matching a image on the GBA and can be played with up to four players.
Kururin Squash has a very bright style, and while it may not push the Gamecube hardware with blocky models, it has such a colorful style you won’t mind that much really. Everything looks great but when a stage gets rough, all of it goes out the door and all thats left in your eyes are the walls and your ship. Some times objects in the background can confuse you, but it’s very rare. For the most part the music in the game fits each stage very well, and while most of it isn’t too memorable many are very relaxing and if your having trouble with a stage it can help you forget your frustrations if your having trouble.
Kururin Squash is a fairly short game. Most players can probably complete the story mode within a night or two of playing. Story mode has five worlds each with seven stages and a boss fight. Time trail mode doubles the mazes with five themes and eight maps in each. Players who are willing to challenge them selves can try collecting all the coins on the stage, finishing the stage without taking damage, and finishing the stage within record time. You can play through the stages with a larger ship and blades to increase the difficult as well play as a ball that cannot stop moving.
Overall Kururin Squash is a great addition to anyones game library. Players who like Monkey Ball or similar types of games definitely will appreciate what Kururin Squash has to offer. www.playasia.com has the title for fairly cheap currently at around 10$ USD. Is it worth the effort to try to get a way to play region locked games just for this game? Not so much, but if you already have a way to play region locked titles then 10$, 20$ or maybe even 30$ would be worth a purchase. It’s a fun title is recommend to anyone who just wants to have a good time.